Portland Downtown District Conference Room
Board members in attendance: Carole Ansheles, Chris Busby, Bill Duggan, Stuart Gersen, Nancy Lawrence, Allan Schmid, Sally Struever, Susan Tran
Advisory Board members in attendance: Jan Beitzer, Elise Loschiavo
Bill opens the meeting. The Board reviews and approves the January 16th meeting minutes with two changes: Carole Ansheles was at meeting and should be added to the attendance roster, and there is a typo in the last paragraph of the Marketing Committee report.
Bill makes a motion to elect Carole Asheles to a position on the Board. Susan seconds the motion. The motion is unanimously approved.
Sally reviews the following proposed motion regarding membership clarifications: I. PROPOSED MOTION REGARDING MEMBERSHIP CLARIFICATIONS
I [Sally Struever] move that the committee/board adopt the following clarifications to our membership policy:
1. New members who pay for the 2007/2008 year from January 1 to March 31, 2008 will receive half off the membership dues for the 2008/2009 year. This does not apply to renewing members as they will have experienced a full year of benefits. Information on this half-off amount will be placed on the web and in any recruiting e-mails and letters.
2. New members who pay 2008/2009 dues after April 1, 2008 will receive 2008/2009 membership benefits and be listed in the on-line directory as soon as PIBCA receives their dues, even if prior to July 1, 2008.
3. Decals will be distributed to new and renewing members each year and will clearly state the membership year on them.
4. Membership and its associated benefits are for the July 1 to June 30 time period regardless of when the dues payment is received, and they expire August 31 each year (two months after the end of our membership and fiscal year).
5. 2006/2007 participants who have not yet paid membership dues for the 2007/2008 year will no longer be considered members and will have their on-line info deleted from the web on March 1. The membership committee will make a short, intense effort to reach out to lapsed members one last time and make it easy for those that have intended to renew to do so. We will send an e-mail and physical mailing in February clearly informing all lapsed members about this upcoming action and about their ability to prevent it by paying their overdue dues.
Susan voices her concerns regarding the printing of new, date-specific member decals citing the possible disruption of branding a solitary image, “policing” members’ use of the decals, and the costs involved in printing a decal that is not “evergreen.”
Stuart suggests that the issue of decals be removed entirely from the present motion and the discussion tabled for another meeting. The Board agrees with Stuarts reasoning and item #3 is removed from the pending motion.
Susan suggests that the language in item #5 be changed from “overdue dues” to “lapsed membership” as the current language implies that PIBCA is owed money from lapsed businesses whereas these businesses may have made a conscious choice to not renew.
Bills asks if we might consider signing up members on a rolling basis. Sally disagrees, citing concerns regarding the Membership Committee’s ability to efficiently manage rolling renewals. Susan suggests that the single renewal period helps a great deal in terms of budgeting and cash flow.
Bill asks about the status of new members who joined in November & December. Stuart explains that those few who joined at the end of the calendar will be expected to renew at the full amount.
Bill asks if renewed members have received welcome packets. Sally confirms that only new members have received packets. Renewing members who provide an e-mail address receive a welcome e-mail. Renewing businesses who do not provide an e-mail address receive nothing. Carole interjects, suggesting that the Board tables all discussion of packets and decals.
Susan makes a motion to accept Sally’s proposal with the aforementioned amendments (removal of item #3 and revised language in item #5). Stuart seconds the motion. All approve.
Carole leads a discussion regarding a proposed printed member directory, reading the following summary:
1. Include the following information: member contact information (business name, street address, phone number, web address; include description if space and format allow) and PIBCA/Buy Local Educational and Organizational Information (membership form and benefits, “10 Reasons,” and possibly other such as letter from the Board).
2. Fund directory using following income strategies (in order of priority): – Sponsors – Members 2008/2009 dues (not to exceed $10 per new member or $1,000 (whichever is lowest)). – Advertising and Individual donations – Existing PIBCA balance (not to exceed $2,000) – Revenue from IndieBiz Awards?
3. Distribute directory: – Distribute to members based on number of employees and membership category – Distribute to consumers using members – targeting high-traffic retail members in neighborhoods around the city. – Total print quantity: 5K – 10K, depending on cost and income
4. Have directory ready by July 1 for summer retail season/ and “Celebrate Your Independents” week.
5. Membership will update full Board at monthly Board meetings.
6. Directory will be an on-going annual initiative. The goal is to start this program in a modest and affordable way and work to build the directory based on increased revenue, feedback, and lessons learned.
7. We will do something no matter what the response, but format may be adjusted based on response.
Bill asks if the directory will be reused or recycled. Susan asks the members of the Membership Committee to explain their goals for the printed directory. Stuart responds, explaining that it would serve as an informational piece for customers, visitors, etc.
Carole requests Chris’s input based on his experience with bringing The Bollard from an on-line publication to a printed publication. Chris explains that his motive with the printed editions of The Bollard was to expand the audience and reach those readers who do not search for news on-line. Bill asks if Chris saw increased web traffic after the first print edition hit the street. Chris explains that web traffic has increased, but he sees no particular bump that corresponds with the print editions. He finds the e-mail bulletins to be the most effective way to increase traffic.
Susan expresses concerns about funding the project suggesting that with a 50% renewal rate in FY08 it would be tough to expect more in FY09. Jan suggests lowering the expense projection on the project.
Chris requests a comparison of the distribution dates for the PIBCA and PDD directories. Jan confirms that the PDD directory will hit the street in March. Sally confirms that the PIBCA directory will be distributed on July 1st. Stuart interjects that if the Membership Committee feels it cannot meet the July 1st distribution deadline, it will nix the project altogether.
Chris suggests a deeper partnership with the Sunrise Guide in lieu of printing our own. Stuart feels that because the Sunrise Guide is sold as a product it is an entirely different type of publication; the PIBCA directory will be free for consumers.
Stuart suggests we go around the table and hear everyone’s thoughts on the directory: Allan likes the directory concept and feels that it will be a good vehicle to recruit new members. Jan reminds the Board that members have requested a print directory. She feels that the expense projection should be capped at $1,000 out of the budget. Bill sees pro’s and con’s. He asks if we are ready to expand in this way. He also asks if we feel the pay off will be worth the expended resources. Elise feels that Jan has a good point but also sees the directory as a good tool for business owners. Susan is entirely opposed to the idea due to the financial (and to a lesser degree environmental) implications associated with the directory. Chris supports the proposal but feels that we should be vigilant in helping our members use the directories to their fullest potential. Nancy supports the proposal and sees the directory as a way to connect with customers.
Bill asks if we should consider introducing a revised motion that fleshes out the project. Carole disagrees, stating that the notes provided to the Board will suffice. Sally suggests that the Board must vote on the project today to allow enough time to implement the project.
Carole makes the motion as outlined above, revising the maximum PIBCA contribution to be $1,000. Allan seconds the motion. Six vote in favor. Two are opposed. Motion passes.
Sally provides a brief outline of the IndieBiz awards and explains that it must be voted on today in order to be carried out by the May 22nd target date.
Susan comments that May 22nd, being the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, is a great time for members to connect before the launch of the summer season.
Sally explains that the hope is for the awards to break even this year but lay the groundwork for an annual fundraising event.
Jan expresses concern regarding the $1,000 budget line. Sally offers to revise the motion to $500 out of the PIBCA budget. Susan seconds the revised motion. All approve.
Sally reminds the Board of the Member Mixer scheduled for Wednesday, March 12th at Maples (151 Middle Street).
Due to the short time remaining, Chris offers to update the Board via e-mail. Briefly, he explains that new posters are on the way, and he will send around the PDD directory ad for review.
Stuart makes a motion for PIBCA to run a pick-up ad in the spring print edition of The Bollard. Susan seconds the motion. All approve with Chris abstaining from the vote.
Meeting adjourned due to time.
Minutes recorded by Susan Tran.
Aikido of Maine / Allagash Brewing Co. / Bayside Bowl / Benchmark Real Estate / Bull Feeney's / Caravan Beads / Casco Bay EyeCare / Clark Insurance / Clicktoast – Digital Advertising / Coffee By Design / CornerStone Building & Restoration / CrossFit Beacon / The Fish & Bone / Float Harder Relaxation Center / Gorham Savings Bank / Green Clean Maine / Joan Leitzer / Lena Geraghty / Liquid Riot / Longfellow Books / Maine Business Immigration Coalition / Malone Commercial Brokers / Marsh Agency / Max Ashburn / Nine Stones / Nomads / OTTO / Philip Spalding / Planet Dog / Port Property Management / Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours / Portland Food Co-op / Portland Downtown / Renys Department Store / Sebago Brewing Company / Taproot Magazine / The SunriseGuide / University Credit Union / University of Southern Maine / Wellness Connection of Maine / XPress Copy / Young’s Furniture